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Travel Guide

Heian Shrine showing a temple or place of worship, religious aspects and heritage architecture

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in the fall, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 330 feet (100 meters) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

3.5 out of 5
1 Higashikujo Nishisannocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥8,727 per night from May 9 to May 9
Located in Minami, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Tower, Kyoto Aquarium, and Kyoto Railway Museum. Fushimi Inari Shrine and Nishiki Market are also ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (50 reviews)
"I had a wonderful experience staying at Rihga Gran Kyoto!"

Reviewed on Apr 5, 2021

The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
3 out of 5
535 Karatsuya-cho, Shijo Horikawa Nishiiru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥2,291 per night from May 13 to May 13
Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Mibu-dera, Shinsenen, and Nijō Castle. Kyoto International Manga Museum and Nishihonganji ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (304 reviews)

Reviewed on Mar 13, 2021

The OneFive Kyoto Shijo
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
4.5 out of 5
JR Kyoto Station, Karasuma Chuo-guchi, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is ¥12,298 per night from Jun 8 to Jun 8
Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium are ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (1,182 reviews)
"I picked this hotel last minute due to Covid but we really enjoyed our stay. It is right outside the Kyoto train station so getting around was super easy and there are so many places to shop and eat. The only downside was the hotel is not a good fit if you are traveling with young children. The pool ..."

Reviewed on Apr 10, 2021

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Kyoto

Top things to do in Kyoto

Reviews of Kyoto


Top Destination

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 78.41191066997519%
4 - Good
4 - Good 19.751861042183624%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 1.5384615384615385%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 0.19851116625310175%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 0.09925558312655088%

5/5 - Excellent


Jun 6, 2020

Love Kyoto!! Definitely recommend fir first time Japan travelers.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 3, 2020

very easy to get around and visit all the sites in the area, trains and buses run regularly throughout the day, so you never have very long to wait for one to come along

4/5 - Good


Mar 26, 2020

Quiet at the time of visit. A beautiful place.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 20, 2020

I would love to live here.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

The city itself is great unfortunately didn't have enough time to explore the entire city. There are a TON of temples and shrines to visit in Kyoto, kind of off putting when most of the good ones are "Pay to enter," when others in the country are not

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 18, 2020

Kyoto was a lovely place to visit. There is so much to see here. The traditional neighborhoods and bamboo homes are scenic. The city is safe and pleasant.

Cities near Kyoto